It’s hard not to be dismissive of being called “snow wimps” when it comes from journalists at the Los Angeles Times. Yes, that Los Angeles. The one in sunny Southern California. Over at KPLU’s website, an angry hive of commenters are defending Seattle’s handling of this week’s snow storm.
Light snow is still falling here in Seattle’s Central District. I hear the sounds of a car spinning its wheels in place outside. Schools have been closed and countless events cancelled. Governor Gregoire declared a “state of emergency” today, as thousands lost power. If this isn’t #snowmageddon, as many had predicted, it seems pretty close.
But take a look around the world at places where snow is making headlines this past week and you’ll be humbled. The fact is Seattle hasn’t received that much snow – several inches in most areas – compared to other places. Most of them are handling their storms with aplomb.
In one area of the country, as much as six feet of snow has triggered avalanches and killed at least sixteen people. And yet in Kabul, which I’ll hazard a guess has less robust transportation infrastructure than Seattle, people are cheering the snow’s arrival, according to Agence France Presse. The snow’s blanketing of the capital has brought a respite from armed conflict, as well as a ten-year-long drought that’s been taking a toll on the Afghan farming economy. “Kabul police dropped their AK47s and playing snowball in Kabul city,” tweeted one resident. Another blogged, “Some vehicles are 4WD, some had chains, but most – including push-bikes, motor bikes and donkeys – just battled along.”
Austria’s been hit by four to six feet of snow and it looks like the country is taking it in stride. Army helicopters were mobilized to rescue those who got stranded. I can’t find any evidence of anyone having been hurt or injured. Big snowplow machines are on the streets of Vienna. Thousands of Brits in the heaviest-hit areas are “happy to be trapped” for a few more days so they can enjoy the ski resorts, reports the UK’s Telegraph. And judging by the video above, the baby panda in the Vienna zoo is loving it.
The impoverished Kashmir region of India has been hit hard with heavy snowfall and freezing wind. There aren’t much in the way of positives to take from it. One police officer told a Reuters blogger, “We are trying our best to throw the road open but it seems the weather god is against us,” before offering him a cup of tea. Many of Kashmir’s seven million people were stranded on the main highway leading into Kashmir, which has just been opened again after three days of closure by laborers using bulldozers, snow removal machines and shovels. Some power lines have been fixed, but many others remain snapped. Across Northern India, 140 people already have died in the storm. If you’re praying to a weather god for an end to the snow, mention Kashmir. They have it worse than us.
If we’d been hit with at least a foot, maybe we’d get some credit. But I don’t think Art Thiel will be able to silence Seattle’s critics on this one.